So, I think you know how this works, but if you don't, this story is told in diary form and follows Anne of the Island chapter for chapter. The second year starts at chapter eleven, so if you want to read the preceding ten chapters please check out Redmond Diaries -the first year.
With love and gratitude to L.M.M. and my Anne girls - here's to another year!
REDMOND DIARIES: THE SECOND YEAR
The main characters are ~
Anne Shirley who comes from Green Gables, Avonlea, and lives at Patty's Place, Spofford Avenue, Kingsport
Gilbert Blythe who comes from Allwinds, Avonlea, and lives at Glenaeon St, Kingsport, and later Mayberry Avenue, Kingsport
Priscilla Grant who comes from New Line Road, West Grafton, and lives at Patty's Place, Spofford Avenue, Kingsport
Philippa Gordon who comes from Mount Holly, Bolingbroke, and lives at Patty's Place, Spofford Avenue, Kingsport
Stella Maynard who had been working in Mornington, Ontario, and lives at Patty's Place, Spofford Avenue, Kingsport
Diana Barry who comes from Orchard Slope, Avonlea
Ruby Gillis who comes from White Lily Lodge, Avonlea
Josie Pye who comes from Palisades, Avonlea
May 23rd, 1884
In the greenest Green Gables, nestled under a wild pear tree; the breeze bristling round my body, inspiration bristling though my soul!
More wonderful news, Ida!
I have finally determined the heroine's name for my new story. Indeed, she declared it to me:
None of your Rosamunds, dear authoress! Nor your Evangelines. You are to name me Averil Lester. Lady Averil Angelica Lester.
Oh Ida, she is dazzling! I always imagined she would have lustrous obsidian hair and a starry violet gaze, but of course an Averil must have golden tresses and eyes of a boundless blue. This will make the task of describing my hero so much simpler because he is to have jet black curls, and if I had two dark haired characters I should run out of words to describe them in the first paragraph.
How clever of Averil! I love spending time in her company and seeing the world through those faultless sapphires. She accompanies me everywhere, I needn't be at my desk or even have a pen and paper to hand. With each walk I take, each morsel I taste, each tree and bloom I spy, I hear her melodic voice share with me the Averil-ish way she perceives the world.
Averil adores the spring. The blossom laden branches of the White Way of Delight seem to bow as she enters the Avenue. She is especially fond of the wind and wears her hair long and loose so that she might enjoy ~
…the fingers of a rose scented zephyr caress each strand of her gilded locks, whispering glories that speak of her imperial spirit.
Isn't that gorgeous, Ida? Though I may change 'imperial' as it conjures the sort of pride that Averil could never express. Perhaps 'exalted', or 'majestic? Yes, majestic! Because that will foreshadow her connection to the hero. He is to be a prince but I have yet to decide on his name because it is utterly contingent on the plot. What a headache it is thinking up a story for them.
I am hoping to bring forth something unique but all my ideas sound like a version of a Grimm's tale. In fact, I am rather taken with the idea of inverting the story of 'The Goose Girl' whereupon the prince is tricked out of marriage by his conniving manservant who presents himself to Averil as her rightful husband-to-be, while the true prince is sent to work with the geese. No, I couldn't have a hero as a goose-herd. Perhaps a shepherd? But then how is Averil to meet him? What about a chef? Yes, a chef! And Averil, so heartbroken by her tragic marriage feels her soul awaken as a breeze redolent with ambrosial concoctions is borne up to her tower.
She will have to be kept in a tower because she refuses to give into the villain's advances ~ I can't have her lose her virtue to a rogue! Oh, he shall be handsome enough, with a wicked grin and hazel eyes that seem to bore right into her. But Averil soon realises his feelings for her are merely carnal and will refuse his seductive advances.
I think I should write that scene, Ida. Though I shall never submit it, it will help with the characterisation. I can see him now, unable to resist the devilish urges inside him, the rogue mounts the stairs with a steely intent. She can hear the lock turn, she knows it is him for he is the only one with a key. It is night ~ naturally the man would come at midnight when the servants are asleep ~ and try as she might Averil cannot rouse her maid. She clutches her satin nightgown, the diaphanous lace can scarcely contain her excitement as he slowly enters, a look of burning desire over his brooding countenance. And Averil calls out to the night:
"Will no one deliver me from this libertine?"
Hmmm. It is good, but now I have the problem of how to get the hero into her room. Perhaps Averil has sent her servant to bring her something to eat? Yes! For it is fairly unlikely that she should be unable to rouse the maid from sleep. The hero can appear with a stupendous creation, a cake of some sort ~ perhaps one they both baked earlier that day? That could become quite an amusing scene; I need some lightness to contrast with the drama. Of course, neither Averil or the hero will make any comical speeches, it is the idea of a future king and queen cooking in the kitchen that is humorous. As they measure out their ingredients, sifting and mixing, there should be plenty of scope for fluttery touches and yearning glances to pass between them. Only why should the hero be proficient in the kitchen in the first place? Well, he shall just have to be. Perhaps it is a requirement in his kingdom, like the quests of King Arthur.
I could call my hero Arthur! But then I should always be thinking of Ruby's buck toothed brother. I would love to have a Lancelot, but I am afraid that would sound rather obvious. Perhaps Perceval? Yes Perceval, so pure of heart he would rather worship at Averil's feet than touch one strand of her golden hair. Now I just need to settle on his last name. I believe I will take a stroll down to the graveyard and study the headstones. They are hardly as inspiring as the ones at the cemetery of Old St John's, but there is one who lies there whose opinion means more to me than anyone else. Matthew so enjoyed my little Story Club jottings. I am sure he would be thrilled to hear how they have matured into grander, more ambitious works. He always said I was a born storyteller. Wouldn't he be proud if I get published in a magazine like Margaret Burton?
Dear Matthew, how I miss him. Though strange to say his gentle spirit seems embodied in that place now. The scotch rose we planted weaves about his grave so that it seems as welcoming to me as Green Gables itself.
But to think of Ruby lying there… How can a girl so vivid and lively be returned to the earth so soon? It does not seem real to me. Yet how much more unreal for her. As heartbreaking as it is to see her deny her illness, I cannot blame her. Imagine looking upon the beauty of spring knowing it might be the last time you gaze upon a Mayflower or hear the call of a lark? It would be unendurable. Yet somehow, we must find a way to help her endure it.
Oh Ruby, to have so few days given to you and to have lived them so carelessly. But if you will let me, I promise you shall not walk these last steps alone.
May 30th Allwinds, Avonlea
What a piece of work is woman, how mysterious in reason, how infinite in faculty.
Forgive me, Shakespeare, but when my own words fail I must turn to yours. Since returning from Redmond this summer it seems the female population of Avonlea have taken with some curious fever. Diana's always wanting to know whether my waistcoats will tone with some strange hue. The Pye girls have taken to snubbing me. Ma has made me so many jars of gooseberry jam I'll need a second trunk to carry them back to Kingsport. And Ruby has summoned me twice to see her, both times at midday when she knows I will likely be shirtless and up to my knees in dirt.
Pa lets me go readily enough. Though the Gillis' won't admit Ruby is consumptive, the rest of town talk of little else. Both times I cleaned up as quickly as I could and bolted over to White Lily Lodge, only to have the Gillis girls shoo me away like a fly.
I've decided to call on Ruby at a time of my choosing. I might ask Arty how to manage it. I could take him fishing with me and Fred on Saturday. He's in need of some cheer and not only because of his sister. It turns out he had his heart set on Nettie Blewett and Billy Andrews beat him to it! I shouldn't laugh. I know full well how it feels to have the girl you are sweet on sneered at. If I had a dollar every time someone asked me what I saw in Anne Shirley I'd never need another scholarship. I think I'd give half of it back just to have them give me an answer. I can no more account for it than I can explain why some folk look up and see sky, and others see forever.
Miss Lavendar likes to say Anne is a boundless mix of souls wrapped into one girl, and I think she is right. As I strolled back to the farm this afternoon I cut through the graveyard and there was Anne talking to herself. I thought it was Matthew she was chatting with and was careful not to disturb her – though I almost relented when I heard her odd speech.
"You are a scoundrel, Maximilian – no, Maurice!" Anne boomed, "Unhand the angel of my heart and prepare to face me!"
"Beware, my love," she continued in a softer tone, "You walk into a deception."
"But Averil… dost thou love me true?"
"Yes, dear Perceval, more than mere words couldst e'er convey!"
After which this Averil uses most of the English language to convey exactly that. I had to stop myself from crying out that if Perceval had to stand there and listen to such a speech, Maurice could have dispatched him ten times over.
I'm guessing Anne is attempting to write some humorous sketch, probably for Ruby. The two of them, and Diana and Jane, once took every brook and hollow for their concert hall – though never I think a graveyard. I once hoped Anne's peculiar ways might rub off on Ruby, and willed myself to fall for her. How hard could it be? Ruby is a beautiful girl, uncomplicated, and mine for the asking. I could have kissed her dozens of times. And not only on the cheek.
There is one night I remember especially, when we strolled home from the station on a weekend home from Queens. Ruby was given a box of rose-water candies that she shared with me. When we arrived at her gate she tiptoed up close and softly blew the dusted sugar from my lips. It was the most electric thing to ever happen to my seventeen year old self. I wanted to kiss her, badly, then Myra and Charlotte appeared, bare armed and bared headed, asking me to come inside. I knew right then why I would never kiss Ruby Gillis. Because she would tell everyone. Her name and mine would forever be linked. And there would be no more bends in the road, as Anne likes to say, no other possibility for me.
Some people look up and only see sky. Others see infinity.
Thursday 30th May, White Lily Lodge, Avonlea
The Life and Times of Ruby Rose Gillis, Chapter 1,969
So horribly, horribly tired. Tired of people looking at me that way. What are they looking for I'd like to know? The way they give me such pitiful smiles as though I had a big boil on my nose. I hate it. Hate being pitied when I once was envied. What I wouldn't give to have one look of jealous spite cast my way. I can't bear it. I can't, I can't!
Even the adorable Herb Spencer tears up in my company. Well, I shall give him something to cry over. It won't be long till he hears that Gilbert Blythe has been calling in his absence. I give it till Saturday before Herb comes over to claim me for his own. It might earn my old chum a sock on the jaw, but Gil's such a sport I don't see him minding too much. Though Herbert is awfully manly he's hardly a pugilist. Then again it would be tragic if Gil should break Herb's nose. It's such an impressive one! Oh, we'll make the prettiest babies one day.
Of course, I aim to warn Gil of my plan. But each time I invite him to the Lodge I take to terrible coughing spells ~ Roderick's Cure All tonic does as much good as Roderick's Hair tonic as far as I can see. And Mrs. Webber's White-as-White never got the blood out of my blouse! I have a good mind to complain to Mr. Lawson, but then he is going to special effort to order me that ivory silk. All the way from Boston!
I can't wait to go to White Sands in the Fall, now that is a proper town. I'm tired of the same silly boys sneering at each other or swooning over me. Tired of poky ol' Avonlea always sticking its nose in and tutting! I've outgrown this place is what this really is. It just took a bad dose of 'flu for me to realise it. All those busy-bodies sniping behind Anne's back, saying she had no right to squander Marilla's money on a degree when she is only going to marry Gilbert anyway. I used to agree with them. Now I see that Anne was right.
A girl needs to stretch her wings, and I will stretch mine. You wait and see!